Several years ago, Darwin Kastle showed me a game he'd made by writing on the backs of Magic cards with a big Sharpie. The cards were just named things like "Tank" and "Special Forces" but Darwin was my buddy and he said it would only take ten minutes, so I agreed to play. I liked it, a lot, and we played again. And again. Over the next few years we would continue to play pretty much any time we had a spare ten minutes.
Here's a quick overview of gameplay:
Publishing games is a dicey business for a small company and I held off on publishing Hill 218 while we concentrated on our flagship Battleground project. Eventually, however, I had to do it -- what's the point of starting a game company if I'm not going to publish one of my favorite games?
We did it cheap, including free art from the Internet, which meant that both sides used the same art, depicting Allied troops. The excellent Andrew Gross made an online version that people could play for free.
Then we waited, and hoped.
It took off. Review after review came in praising this little deck of cards that manages to pack so much depth into a fast game with simple rules. The first print run sold out. Then the second. It sold well enough to justify creating an iOS app, with help from Large Visible Machines. That app has already sold thousands of copies.
Here's what the fans have to say:
All in all, a great game, deeper than you'd think for just two small decks of cards...it's the sort of game that will have you saying, "just one more." It's fun, it's cheap, it's got a great military theme, and you get to blow stuff up real good. What more could you ask for? - Ken B., Fortress AT
The Battle for Hill 218 is a fast-paced game that has the vibe of speed chess with the trappings of a wargame. Few pieces, few rules, high play speed, and novel mechanics create a different game each time. Because the game is short, The Battle for Hill 218 can easily be played as a great filler game or in a longer series of matches; it's fast enough for the former and deep enough for the latter. - Lee Valentine, Ogre Cave
Only Ascention has ever felt better over such short play sessions. - Kelsey Rinella, Pocket Tactics (reviewing iOS app)
Heavy punch in a small package...you have no excuse not to own this underrated classic! - Charlie Theel, Roll 2d6
"You must play this game" especially if you are interested in the design of tactical games. - Alejandro Magno, BoardGameGeek
You get a TON of strategy in a little game. That's certainly my cup of tea. - Mike Fox, BoardGameGeek
Battle for Hill 218 holds your attention all the way through, never feels like solitaire, and is over quickly. The strategy is substantial. It feels like a "natural" game, with mechanics that make sense according to it's theme. In conclusion, just buy this game. You'll find yourself playing it often. - David Grim, BoardGameGeek
Over the years, Darwin and I naturally talked about a sequel. He tried a number of times, but discarded each new variant as unworthy. Then, as I was getting ready to order a third print run of Hill 218 Darwin came to me and said he'd finally come up with a sequel that he was happy with. I tried it and loved it. I shared it with some Hill 218 fans. They loved it. So I decided to publish it alongside the reprint. At the same time I decided to upgrade the components of Hill 218 to what it deserves. We're going to keep the vintage photo art but we want to give one army Axis art to distinguish between the two. We also want to use plastic cards (like a high-end poker deck) so it'll be as much fun to shuffle as it is to play, so we've made that one of our stretch goals.
For Sector 219 we've commissioned fantastic new art. Each unit type will have two beautiful pieces (one for each army) showing sci-fi/mech units ready for battle. I think the overall art portfolio for Sector 219 is one of the best you'll ever see for a stand-alone $12 game.
If you've already got a copy of Hill 218, maybe it's time to get a new one, or to give a copy to a friend. It's definitely time to pick up the sequel. If you don't have a copy yet, check out the reviews, play the free online version and treat yourself to one of the best, and fastest, two-player tactical games out there. (And buy the sequel, too.)
These games are going to be printed. The question is when. Those of you who supported our Alexander vs. Persia project know the story already; in addition to Hill 218 and Sector 219 we had two Battleground products become ready to print at the same time. We don't need to raise the whole amount (which is why our target is lower than for most game projects) but in order to print them now we need a cash flow bump.
It's not that easy to make sensible stretch goals for a stand-alone card game. Or at least it isn't easy for me -- maybe you'll suggest some and we'll add them in.
$4,000. Upgraded card stock -- Unlocked!. Both games will be printed on premium quality poker card stock so they feel as beautiful as they look.
$10,000. Sector 219 app for iOS, Android and PC -- Unlocked! Everyone who orders at least two decks (of either or both games) can buy it as an add-on for just $2 (vs. $3 via iTunes). Creating the app will take some real work because the AI will have to be taught to play with the new cards, so we're not offering an estimated completion date yet but we'll make it happen.
Update: The app will also be available for Android and PC!
$15,000. Retheme and free games! Unlocked and improved! We'll do a retheme of Hill 218 with players choosing the new theme. Plus, everyone who supported at at least the $30 level (not including international shipping) will get one free game for every $30 in their pledge (again not including shipping). The free game(s) can be the retheme or Hill 218, Sector 219 or My Kind of Town.
Update: you can also choose Darwin's first game, Space Station Assault. Also, if you choose either currently-existing games or to include the retheme but have your other games wait to ship with the retheme you get another free game! (See update #11 for details.)
$17,500. Electronic art book. Kaile and I will put together an art book, including commentary, sketches, and how something like this went from first concept to final art. It will be formatted to a common POD size so that anyone who wants a physical book can easily have one made. We'll send it to all backers at the $5 level and above.
Add Ons (banner pending) :)
My Kind of Town can be added to your pledge for $10 per copy (or $7 if you're at the Stocking Stuffer level). If you like two-player card games that play fast but offer solid depth, check out My Kind of Town. From our website you can download a free Java version to play against the AI and you can see Tom Vasel's video review.
Risks and challenges
While any game printing has potential risks, they should be low for this project. The art is finished, and these are very standard products for our printer and much less complex than other projects we've done. If we hit our App stretch goal we'll be working with Large Visible Machines, the same company that made the original Hill 218 app, so I'm confident that they can deliver.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)